The fourth round of the Soudal Classics, the C1 Soudal Cyclo-cross Leuven, took place in Belgium on Sunday with its steep, technical drop offs and run ups and the typical Belgian wet weather delivered mud.
World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) soloed to win at Soudal Cyclocross Leuven on Sunday, and claimed his seventh victory of the season, his first since the Soudal Jaarmarktcross Niel on November 10. Albert took off on the second lap and quickly grew his gap to over 30 seconds by the end of the lap on a chase group. The chasers included Philipp Walsleben (BKCP – Powerplus), Rob Peeters (Telenet – Fidea), Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Revor) and Belgian champion Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet- Euphony) who had a bad start.
Halfway through the race while Albert had a one-minute gap, Pauwels attacked the chase group and was off by himself. A position he held until the finish. Nys won the battle for third. After going down head first while trying to bunny-hop the barriers, Bart Wellens (Telenet - Fidea) managed to finish 10th. (watch short summary video in Flemish of the elite men's race).
“Finally,” Albert said after his victory. He added that it was only in the past two weeks while training in Spain that he felt his best fitness had arrived. "It was a long time since I have a feeling that today I can ride, especially mentally, this victory particularly important.”
Belgian champion Sanne Cant (Veldritacademie Enertherm – BKCP) led from start to finish in the elite women's race. She took the holeshot and controlled the pace. American Amy Dombroski (Young Telenet-Fidea) and Belgian Ellen Van Loy (Melbotech Prorace CT) and the rest of the field lined up behind her. Ultimately, Cant was able to take advantage of her skill riding one of the steep drop offs to get a small gap while the others dismounted and ran down. The gap grew to 50 seconds by the time she crossed the line in victory. (watch short summary video in Flemish of the elite women's race).
Behind her, Dombroski pulled away from Van Loy who went down on the slick downhill turns a few times to take second, her best results this season so far.Van Loy held on for third. Dombroski tweeted, “Not gonna lie, thAt felt good- not so much the racing as the podium. First euro podium ever, happy.”
After flying to Europe just a few days ago for a two-week racing period, American Maureen Bruno-Roy (Bob's Red Mill p/b Seven Cycle) made her way through the field to top 10 and then top quickly. She ultimately finished in fourth place. Bruno-Roy tweeted after the race, “Thx for all the cheers today! 4th place, a bit muddy and still shaking out the airplane legs. So close to a podium. #leuvencx”
The finale of the Soudal Classics will take place at the Namur World Cup on December 23, 2012.
Two other races, both C2s for elite men only, were held on Sunday, the Cyclo-cross International Ciudad de Valencia in Spain and the National Trophy Series Round 5 in Great Britain. Joeri Hofman soloed to win the National Trophy Series Round 5 in Shrewsbury ahead of Oliver Beckingsale and Paul Oldham. Aitor Hernández took the win in Spain, beating Javier Ruiz de Larrinaga and Isaac Suárez in a sprint to the finish line.
Also on Sunday, Tereza Medvedova and Martin Haring won the Slovakian National Cyclocross Championships